Written on: 06/03/2012
It's actually been about 9 years since we had a kitchen fitted by Kitchen Emporium, and looking at most of the reviews I can see that not much has changed since then.Review sites like this unfortunately didn't exist in 2003. Driving past there recently and finding that they are still trading has prompted me to write this review now.
After signing on the dotted line (with some reservations - the owner was quite rude and abrupt that day. As he was fairly charming the previous times we'd met him, we thought he was just having an off day), that's when the problems began....
By chance, shortly afterwards we found out that our neighbours had had a kitchen fitted by them. After they had heard some very negative press about the company after they had signed the contract they had tried to cancel the installation. Were told that they would still be liable to pay the full cost of the kitchen, even if not fitted. On taking legal advice, they found that the wording of the contract they'd signed meant that this actually was the case, so they went ahead. Looking at the small print of the contract it was indeed apparent that cancellation with full return of the deposit was only possible within 24hours of ordering, and if a further three days had passed then the customer was liable to lose not just the deposit but also was liable for the full cost. How I wished I'd known this earlier...
As Kitchen Emporium didn't provide a complete integral service we had to organise independent plasterer and flooring contractors ourselves, with the problems of timing relative to the rest of the kitchen being fitted.
Anyway, we crossed our fingers and hoped we would have a positive experience and the fitting went ahead. That's when the problems really started. The first people to arrive were to remove the old kitchen. They asked me where I wanted the rubble left - on the drive or in the garden? Silly me had presumed that removal of the old kitchen (specified in the contract) meant removal away from the property, not just out of the front door. On contacting the showroom, I was asked 'didn't you book a skip?' and it was only with some reluctance and argument that a skip was arranged by them.
As the fitting itself started, other problems came to light. When the electrician came I asked about repositioning of the electrical sockets, as the difference in height of the new and old worktops meant that the current position would mean that the sockets would actually be below the level of the worktop. I was told by him that Kitchen Emporium would not pay him to move sockets, only to make the current ones safe. As the plasterer was arriving the next day, the sockets needed to be in place before this so this involved more aggravation and angry phone calls to Kitchen Emporium to get this sorted.
I can't really fault the main fitter - apparently the fitters were self employed contractors. The quality of the workmanship was excellent too. But this is the only positive aspect of the whole experience.
The whole fitting was supposed to take about 2 weeks, and we'd booked time off work because of having a young dog in the house.
About 80% of the fitting was done in that time. (There were days when the fitter had to leave very early to go on other jobs).
Then the real fun started.....
The glass-fronted doors we'd specified for the corner display units arrived in solid wood rather than with glass. To have the glass fitted to these doors seemed to involve a mammoth effort for some reason or other.
Many a time, we were told the doors would be ready the next day. This went on for a few weeks. Every time there was another excuse why they hadn't been done. A few more angry phone calls and visits to the showroom. When the doors finally arrived and were fitted, I realised that one of them opened in the opposite direction to all of the others. Eventually, that too was sorted.
As I recall, the total time from the start of the fitting to the end was closer to 3 months, rather than the 2 weeks quoted. Admittedly, most of the work was done in the first 3 weeks, but we were left with some open cupboards without doors for the next couple of months.
Paid over 12k for this experience (in 2003 money)
Admittedly, this all happened some time ago and things might've improved since then, but looking at some of the other reviews, it would appear that customer service is still an issue.